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Urban Room Blackburn

Blackburn is Open Presents the UK's first Urban Room.

The Urban Room is a place where people can learn more about architecture and the buildings, parks and places where they live. It should be a place for discussion and debate about the possibilities of design and what can be achieved. But most of all it should show people how they can influence the decisions that are made.

"When Blackburn is Open was set up we decided we wanted it to be bold, to take creative risks and to experiment with new ways of doing things.
So I’m delighted that we are the first place in the UK to open an Urban Room and that yet again Blackburn is setting itself up as a trailblazer.
The Urban Room aims to get people thinking about the limitless possibilities of architecture; thinking about the places where they live and the opportunities they can create to do things differently.
I hope it will inspire everyone who visits to look again at Blackburn and get involved in shaping the town’s future."

- Wayne Hemingway, Hemingway Design

Why Now?

In the last five years it has bucked the national trends and development has continued on an ambitious scale. A new £66 million shopping centre and an £8 million market have already been completed. Underway are a brand new leisure centre and bus station as well as a new £30 million development of leisure and retail spaces called Cathedral Quarter. There is also a new commitment through the Blackburn is Open scheme to hold year round music and cultural events and offer artists and entrepreneurs empty spaces to try out new ideas, open pop up shops and launch new business ventures. An Urban Room is the perfect place to let people know how Blackburn is changing and get people involved in the discussion about what’s to come.

Farrell Review

Commonplace in China and popular in Japan, an Urban Room is a place where conversations about the built environment can take place. It would offer people access to the more information about the planning process, the importance of good design and how they could get involved in influencing decisions. For the whole of October Blackburn’s Urban Room will be a hotbed of discuss, workshops and exhibitions and will aim to show that architecture is everybody’s business.

A review into the state of British architecture headed by world class architect, Sir Terry Farrell, found that the public needed to get more involved in conversations about where they live.
In order for towns and cities to meet the challenges of the future, ever expanding populations and offer quality of life, the Farrell Review, published earlier this year, set out a number of recommendations including involving the public more in planning decisions.
One of the key ways that this could be achieved said Sir Terry, who is perhaps best known for designing London’s MI6 building and more recently the tallest building in the world by a British architect in Shenzhen, was by the opening of Urban Rooms in town and city centres.

About Blackburn is Open

Blackburn is Open aims to support, inform and excite the emerging town centre strategy, enabling the delivery of high quality programming that forms an essential part of the Blackburn town centre vision. Blackburn is Open poses questions, whilst supporting ways to change perceptions of the town centre, provide opportunities for creative employment, utilise Council owned vacant property and provide additional reasons to visit the town.
As part of this ethos Blackburn’s Urban Room will be popping up for one month in the Blackburn is Open HQ. The town centre shop will be a hotbed of debate, exhibitions and workshops, all based around the historical development of Blackburn and the future of planning in the town.

Blackburn is Open would like to thank all the contributors and participants to create the Urban Room Blackburn.